Stanford GSB - Admissions & Profile

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Quick Facts

Successful Applicant Profile

More than most other top business schools, Stanford values assembling a diverse group of students from numerous fields with proven intellectual capacity. The average undergraduate GPA of Stanford's MBA class is almost always higher than that of MBA classes at other top schools. Further, around 15% of Stanford's class already holds advanced degrees. Despite the wide range of student backgrounds at Stanford GSB, an analysis of student profiles indicated that the following characteristics tend to make successful applicants:

  • GMAT Score: 710+
  • Work Experience: 3-6 years
  • Undergraduate Education: Tier 1 University
  • Future Career Path: Consulting (most common path), Finance, or Technology

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Reputation & Job Prospects

See the rankings page for the school's rank in various publications.

Located in the heart of beautiful Silicon Valley a few miles from Google headquarters, Stanford GSB is the premier business school in the world for those interested in entrepreneurship and technology. The list of Stanford GSB's alums is a virtual who-is-who of Silicon Valley. Together with other Stanford graduate schools (such as the engineering and law schools), Stanford GSB possesses one of the most well-connected and dedicated alumni networks in the fields of technology and entrepreneurship. Similarly, Stanford (along with Harvard) is a favorite recruiting ground for top-tier venture capital funds and private equity firms. However, Stanford GSB is not limited in its stellar reputation to these fields. The institution is widely recognized as a powerhouse in the fields of consulting and finance, with a large percent of graduates regularly entering these more traditional business school jobs. With a reputation for populating its small class size with the brightest students and the most promising leaders, Stanford GSB provides its alums with excellent job prospects in virtually every field. Not surprisingly, the median base salary of graduates is well over $100,000 and virtually all students seeking full-time jobs find employment quickly after graduation.

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Notable Faculty

In keeping with the school's emphasis on academic excellence, Stanford GSB has some of the most well respected faculty in the world.

  • Michael Spence - Taught economics and won a Nobel Prize in 2001 (along with Joseph Stiglitz and George Akerlof) for work in the area of asymmetric information, signaling theory, and information economics. Dr. Spence also served as Dean of the business school for many years.
  • Myron Scholes - Taught finance and won a Nobel Prize in 1997 (along with Robert C. Merton) for developing the Black-Scholes model, which served as a ground-breaking advancement in the pricing of derivatives such as options.
  • William F. Sharpe - Taught finance and won a Nobel Prize in 1990 (along with Harry Markowitz and Merton Miller) for work in financial economics. Sharpe developed the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM) in his essay entitled Capital Asset Prices: A Theory of Market Equilibrium under Conditions of Risk (1964).

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School History

In 1925, at the initiation of Herbert Hoover, a small group of business leaders assembled to plan a world-class graduate school of business to be located on the West Coast. This occurred in part as an attempt to stop the exodus of talented students leaving for the East Coast to pursue an education and never returning. By the late 1930s, the school had moved to Jordan Hall, which is no longer used for the business school but remains on the Main Quad of Stanford's campus. In 1952, after enrollment at Stanford GSB (and many other schools) suffered a decline during World War II, Stanford developed its Executive Development Program. During the early 1970s, as America struggled with issues of racial and ethnic diversity, Stanford GSB undertook an audacious program to expand the presence of underrepresented groups within the student body. In the course of a few years, Stanford GSB increased its minority enrollment by a factor of about 10 times. Today, Stanford continues to admit a large percent of underrepresented groups (relative to some other top business schools).

In October 1989, one of the school's buildings was nearly destroyed and the community was severely shaken in the 7.1 Loma Prieta earthquake that rocked the San Francisco bay area. In Dean Robert K. Jaedicke's words, "it is nothing short of a miracle" that nobody suffered a serious injury. The school recovered and in the eleven years that spanned 1990 and 2001, Stanford GSB faculty won three Nobel prizes, a nearly unparalleled accomplishment that focused attention on the school's world-class professors and academic emphasis (William Sharpe won in 1990, Myron Scholes won in 1997, and Michael Spence won in 2001).

In June 2006, the school announced a dramatic and much-anticipated change to its curriculum. The new model emphasized customization, allowing each student to tailor a course plan that required few "core" classes and imposed minimal mandatory requirements. Under the June 2006 curriculum, with the help of faculty advisors, students crafted an individual study plan tailored to their background, interests, and goals. Moreover, the new core significantly elevated the role of critical, analytical, and ethical thinking. Reflecting growing globalization, the school emphasized the importance of global competencies and required students to undertake an international experience such as a global internship, exchange semester, or overseas service-learning trip. With a new curriculum, a large endowment, and a world-class reputation, the Stanford Graduate School of Business is unquestionably one of the best MBA programs in the world.

Sources: Stanford GSB, Jackson Library at Stanford GSB, Interviews

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The list of individuals who received diplomas from Stanford GSB (through the executive education, continuing education, and two-year MBA programs) is filled with successful technology entrepreneurs, bankers, and executives.

Business: Finance

  • Allison, Herbert M. - served as chairman, president & CEO of TIAA-CREF
  • Byers, Brook - served as senior partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
  • Draper, Tim - founded Draper Fisher Jurvetson
  • Kovacevich, Richard - served as chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo
  • Maughan, Sir Deryck - served as chairman and CEO of Salomon Brothers
  • McCoy, John - served as chairman and CEO of Banc One
  • Schwab, Charles R. - served as chairman & CEO of Charles Schwab
  • Scott, Robert - served as president & COO of Morgan Stanley

Business: Other

  • Bass, Sid - served at Bass Enterprises Production Co.
  • Bewkes, Jeffrey - served as president & COO of Time Warner
  • Bhandari, Rahul - served as Managing Director of Paras Ventures
  • Coulombe, Joseph - founded Trader Joe's
  • Coulter, James - served as founding partner of Texas Pacific Group
  • Ellis, Steve - served as worldwide Managing Director of Bain & Company
  • Fisher, Robert - served as chairman of Gap
  • Garnier, Jean Pierre - served as CEO of GlaxoSmithKline
  • Jordan, Jeff - served as president of PayPal
  • Khosla, Vinod - served as co-founder of Sun Microsystems
  • Knight, Phil - served as founder and CEO of Nike
  • Kordestani, Omid - served as SVP of Google
  • Luczo, Steve - served as CEO of Seagate Technology
  • McNealy, Scott - served as chairman & CEO of Sun Microsystems
  • Peterson, Donald - served as chairman & CEO of Ford Motor Company
  • Rainwater, Richard - founded ENSCO International Incorporated
  • Stern, Carl W. - served as chairman of Boston Consulting Group
  • Skoll, Jeffrey - served as President of eBay
  • Westly, Steve - served as CEO of eBay

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